Tricky concept. I seem to need large doses of this in times of uncertainty, and there are a few people I keep returning to for their latest efforts.
Victor Davis Hanson, for a cold-eyed look at the world around us - latest I've found is here.
Robert D Kaplan (recent Atlantic Monthly article), whose view of humankind is a needed antidote to all those damned idealists: dark and irrational passions lie deep in human nature. Think religious fanatics, berserkers, the 'creedal passion periods' that Huntington points to in American culture, the taniwha worshippers of our own little NZ, the cargo cultists of the South Pacific, the list just goes on and on. To the extent that real power is thus exercised, and that power always, always matters, this side of us cannot be glossed over or rationalised away.
Evan Eisenberg, author of The Recording Angel, shows a marvellous touch with this now out of print trawl through the co-evolution of jazz and records. I'm currently reading his Ecology of Eden and rather like his juxtaposition of the Mountain-Eden and the Tower-Technological Man. So far, anyway.
William Rees-Mogg , who co-authored with James Dale Davidson The Sovereign Individual which not coincidentally (in my edition's preface) has a telling reference to the (not exactly quoted) 'vulnerable steel and glass symbol of commerce - the Twin Towers'.
Which may lead on (but not tonight, more Eisenberg to digest, after a good steak, a passable shiraz and a glorious sunset viewed from the Southern tip-head mole at Greymouth) to a rumination about canaries in coal mines.